Lerner Class of 2018 includes first-ever FSAN Ph.D.s

Lerner graduates celebrating at graduation.

The Class of 2018 from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics includes 1,109 undergraduate students, 286 graduate students and one exciting first for the college: the first-ever class of Lerner doctoral graduates in financial services analytics (FSAN).

“Congratulations to the graduating students, and an enormous thank you to the many faculty members contributing teaching, research training, mentoring and supervision to Lerner’s expanding Ph.D. student body,” said Lerner College Dean Bruce Weber.

Five students make up the inaugural FSAN doctoral class: Deshen Wang, Sean Kilgallon, Xin (Jane) Ji, Leonarda De La Rosa Angarita and Arash Riasi.

“I feel very proud to be part of the first class of FSAN doctoral graduates,” Kilgallon said. “Our cohort had a very diverse set of academic backgrounds, and with that we were able to help each other through our various strengths and weaknesses. I hope that we helped improved the program by being the first class through and paved the way for next cohorts.”

Wang agreed, saying, “I feel that we are pioneers. We explore interesting and program-related research questions together with faculty members, who value our opinions a lot.”

Wang added that his favorite thing about his four years at the Lerner College was the opportunity to work with FSAN faculty members, who he describes as “super dedicated.”

“Before I joined the Ph.D. program, I heard that Ph.D. students spend a lot of time working solo,” Wang explained. “But in the FSAN program, my advisor, Dr. Bintong Chen, spent a lot of his time working with me. We’d spend many hours each week having discussions regarding our research. I really appreciate the help and guidance I received from FSAN professors.”

And Kilgallon’s favorite experience? Presenting at the Fraud Detection & Cyber Security Conference held by Lerner’s Institute for Financial Services Analytics (IFSA) last year.

“The conference happened to align with my research, and it was an amazing experience to be able to represent my program and discuss my ongoing research with the academic community,” Kilgallon said.

In terms of plans for the future, the options for FSAN grads are limitless.

“The benefit of going through such a multidisciplinary program is that I feel like there are infinite possibilities for the future,” Kilgallon said. “I plan to get a job in industry, but due to the nature of the FSAN program, I feel that any job that requires ‘problem solving using data’ would be a great fit.”

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